Peyton Manning eclipses Tom Brady as Denver set up Super Bowl 50 meeting with Carolina
Published 25/01/2016 | 08:01
The Denver Broncos delivered a defensive masterclass to beat reigning champions the New England Patriots 20-18 in the AFC Championship game and book their place in Super Bowl 50.
The conference title game was billed as the battle of the quarterbacks and it was Peyton Manning who came out on top with a huge helping hand from his defence, which nullified Tom Brady's threat.
The Broncos were forced to hold on at Sports Authority Field after Brady's four-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski with 12 seconds remaining but an interception on the two-point conversion all but sealed the win.
Owen Daniels had earlier scored two touchdowns from Manning passes either side of Steven Jackson's one-yard run to help Denver to a 17-9 half-time lead.
Stephen Gostkowski and Brandon McManus again traded field goals before Brady and Gronkowski combined to set up a tense finish.
The thrilling victory sends the Broncos through to a record-equalling eighth Super Bowl.
And waiting will be the Carolina Panthers after they booked their ticket with a 49-15 rout of the Arizona Cardinals.
Cam Newton was the star of the show as he broke the record for the most points in a winning NFC title match, throwing two touchdowns and running two more.
Newton finished with 335 yards passing and 47 rushing and it earned him a first trip to the Super Bowl and the Panthers' first since 2004.
David Rush and Darren Fells scored touchdowns for the Cardinals but they came up against a mean Panthers defence, who kept dangerman Larry Fitzgerald quiet.
They were ruthless at the other end as the 49 points scored was their highest of the season.